Federal money is focus of local government officials

Allegany County government officials listen as Congressman Nick Langworthy addresses some 30 people yesterday during a roundtable discussion at Belmont yesterday. From left are W. Brooke Harris, chairman of the county Board of Legislators, Vice-Chairman Kevin (Fred) Demick, and County Administrator Carissa Knapp.
(Allegany Hope Community News photo)

Most Allegany County local government officials appeared to be looking for federal money yesterday as their newly-elected Congressman came to town at Belmont.

U.S. Representative Nick Langworthy spent nearly an hour-and-a-half talking to and with the public in a roundtable discussion at the County Office Building, with nine out of 15 county legislators and at least the same number of other county and local officials making up the majority of attendees.

The Republican legislator, an Erie County resident, spent some 25 minutes providing his perspective on what has been happening in Washington since he first took his 23rd Congressional District seat some seven weeks ago.

He noted party viewpoints on several issues, many of them related to his assignments as a member of the Agriculture and Rules committees, along with the Oversight and Accountability Committee which includes Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs, and on Health Care and Financial Services subcommittees.

Federal issues
Topics included energy, with one focus on New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s push from natural gas to electric heating, the COVID crisis, the Southern Border and fentanyl drug distribution, an upcoming farm bill, the debt ceiling debate, and foreign trade, including manufacture of more products in the United States.

Legislator Gretchen Hanchett of Belmont led off the county’s wish list, asking about assistance for development in rural areas.

Legislator Philip Stockin of Houghton followed with the county’s concern about the governor seeking to divert federal Medicaid monies, which the county contends were designated to be local revenues, to its own coffers.

Langworthy said his office will be glad to work with local governments to attempt to obtain more federal aid for rural development, noting he is in favor of expanding broadband throughout his district and that some local governments have used some of their federal pandemic funds to aid in such purposes. He also said he already has gone on record as opposing Hochul’s actions in regard to Medicaid funding.

Funding for community projects
Angelica Supervisor Robert Jones said he is looking for funds to help pay for a major water project in the town, indicating opposition to providing money to Ukraine, Mayor Randy Shaler of Wellsville, which was recently awarded $5 million from the state for economic development, requested more federal efforts be undertaken to aid small local governments with blight issues, and Chairman Harris urged more direct federal funding for projects rather than passing monies through the state.

County Legislator Gary Barnes of Wellsville expressed concern about immigrants being bused into the state, saying that dozens of families now are located in Jamestown. He also proposed looking at nuclear energy, which he described as much safer than in the past, while Legislator Dwight (Mike) Healy of Belmont urged restoration of fracking in the Southern Tier to help provide for energy needs.

Healy also promoted additional federal dollars for economic development, saying that infrastructure needs to be obtained for locations such as the county’s Crossroads Development area north of Belmont.

Langworthy said local officials need to let his office know how he can help.

The full session is available at https://bit.ly/3m82m3u, with public participation starting at approximately 25 minutes.